Miscellanea and Ephemeron
10/22/2006 Archived Entry: "Anime review: Saiyuki Reload Gunlock, Vol. 2"
Review by Tom Good
The first half of this DVD falls so squarely into the anime category of "a bunch of guys yelling and fighting" that I can't think of a better way to describe it. If you're in the mood for that sort of thing, it does entertain, like an exciting drag race full of noise and speed. The plot becomes funnier and more interesting by the third episode, "Cursed Board Game." Here the Sanzo party finds and plays an enchanted board game where the game moves turn out to have dangerous real-life consequences. The goofy, over-the-top magic in this one had me laughing.
The anime changes style again in the DVD's final episode, "The Red-Haired Woman," and offers a suspenseful romance. Gojyo meets a half-demon redhead who is sent to trap and betray him, but their relationship quickly becomes more complicated. This was my favorite story of Volume 2 because it had the most character development.
Though I like the art in Saiyuki Reload Gunlock for its uncluttered stylishness, I have some trouble with the music here in Volume 2. Quite a bit of the background music is a kind of wimpy, bland jazz/fusion that probably wouldn't impress me in any scene, but is especially ill-suited to action scenes, and becomes unintentionally funny when deployed there. It makes me wonder if it is an unsuccessful attempt to imitate the variety of musical styles in Cowboy Bebop. If so, it proves that this type of soundtrack is difficult to do well.
All in all, I'd classify Volume 2 as a decent rental for most anime fans, but a "buy" only for those who are already invested in this series.
The Wapshott Press
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